(FETICHE) 1933

Director: Ladislaw Starewicz

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

The Mascot (Fetiche, 1934), a half-hour stop-motion animated film, is simply a joy. A mother at her child's sickbed is sewing & refurbishing a stuffed toy puppy, in a room with other refurbished toys. She looks over at her sleeping child & cries a tear that falls into the heart of the stuffed animal so that it comes alive. Her child awakens & begs for an orange, but mom says they have no money, she can't get him an orange. Then she gathers up the refurbished toys & boxes them up to send to a nearby junkstore.

MascotAs the tale unfolds, the toy puppy ends up adventuring around Paris, & obtaining a nice orange individually wrapped in paper.

He begins his long journey hoping to bring the orange to the child. As night falls, a devil-puppet climbs out of a drunkard's booze bottle, all the garbage comes alive in the dark streets of the city, & the devil calls all the living garbage, alley cats, broken toys, rats, living fishbones, & all sorts of goblinish critters to the devil's cabaret.

The toy puppy refuses to be tempted by the devil's party so the devil snatches away the pup's orange & tosses into the cabaret. The pup expends much energy interacting with weird puppets trying to get the orange back, then flees with it back to his old home, delivering the orange to the boy at dawn, who in consequence recovers from his illness (must've been the Vitamin C).

Much more happens than the outline reveals, & it's all terribly charming & wonderful, like when a broken (headless) clown doll finds a garlic to use for his new head, then sings a French ballade to a weeping ballerina doll. There's so little dialog, it approaches being a silent film, thus a fine "international" film by a Polish-Russian immigrant to France.

It's an astounding work of imagination. Think Toy Story if that had done with the stop-motion animation of Jan Svankmajer or the Brothers Quay instead of by Disney/Pixel.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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